J&K's Stateless People

Source: Report No 183, Parliament of India, Rajya Sabha
17 April 2015

Excerpts from Parliamentary report (183rd report) on West Pakistan refugees and other displaced persons:

" the time of partition which was followed by tribal invasion, more than 7000 families crossed to this side of the LoC and International Border from PoJK and the then Western Pakistan. Later on, during Indo-Pak wars of 1965 and 1971, nearly 10,000 families got dislocated from 47 villages of Chhamb area. The families who had to migrate on various occasions since 1947, are categorised as under:-

(i) West Pakistani Refugees of 1947;

(ii) PoJK Refugees of 1947;

(iii) Chhamb Displaced Persons of 1965;

(iv) Chhamb Displaced Persons of 1971 (Camp);

(v) Chhamb Displaced Persons of 1971 (Non-Camp)."

West Pakistan Refugees

" per the report of the Wadhwa Committee of 2007 constituted by the Government of J&K, around 5,764 families consisting of 47,215 persons migrated from West Pakistan and got settled mainly in different areas of Jammu, Kathua and Rajouri Districts of Jammu Division. No land was allotted to them by the State Government. However, these families had occupied 45,466 kanals of land (State land 10,478 kanals, Evacuee land including other types of land 25,976 kanals and other land (10,012 kanals) which was allowed to be retained by them without conferring upon them the title of land because of their non-permanent resident staus of the State." [page 10]

"The representatives of West Pakistani Refugees submitted before the Committee that after the partition of the country in 1947 their forefathers arrived from West Pakistan to settle in Jammu and they have been living there for 66 years but they have been deprived of the rights conferred to the State People. They have not been provided the voting right in the Assembly and their children are running from pillar to post in search of permanent source of livelihood. Whatever recruitment is made in Jammu, even if it is done on behalf of Government of India, West Pakistan Refugees are kept at bay. Their three generations in Jammu have ruined completely and at present fourth generation is also facing severe problems. West Pakistani Refugee families spread in seven tehsils of three districts of the State but have no voting rights for State Assembly and Panchayat Elections though they can vote in Parliamentary elections." [page 16]

"The representatives of West Pakistani Refugees further informed the Committee that people from West Pakistan arrived in India in 1947 even before enforcement of Article 370. Article 370 came into operation in 1957 while they came here in 1947 and they were asked to remain in the border villages on the advice of then Prime Minister and Sheikh Mohamad Abdullaha. However, they were not considered eligible for Government jobs even under the Central Government as the jobs were created in the name of State Government, which did not treat them as State subjects. In the recruitments for army and para military forces, domicile certificates are asked, which they do not have. People are living at the land which was given on compassionate basis. However, they are now not permitted to get repaired the dilapidated houses." [page 16]

"The Ministry of Home Affairs further informed that the West Pakistani Refugees settled in Jammu and Kashmir are very much the citizens of India. They have the right to vote in Parliamentary Elections but they do not enjoy voting rights to the State Assembly and Local Bodies. There is no provision of separate citizenship for the State. However, they are not permanent residents of the State in terms of the J&K Constitution, therefore, these families could not be provided the benefits which had been provided to PoJK refugees. The West Pakistani Refugees families can't avail the benefits of various social welfare schemes launched by the State Government and the members of their families can seek neither Government employment in the State nor admissions in various professional colleges of the State. No other benefits of any kind have been granted to these refugees." [page 10]

Persons displaced from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir in 1947

"... in the wake of Pakistani aggression in Jammu and Kashmir in 1947, mass exodus of population from Pak occupied area of Kashmir (POK) took place. The Ministry of Home Affairs also stated that as per the available records, 31,619 families were registered with the Rehabilitation Organisation, out of which 26,319 families opted to settle down within the State itself and 5,300 families settled outside the State of J&K "¦ However, no claims for compensation in lieu of the properties left behind by these displaced persons were invited by the Government of India as POJK was treated as an integral part of India. The Displaced Persons (Compensation and Rehabilitation) Act, 1954 and the Administration of Evacuee Property Act, 1950 are not applicable to the State of Jammu and Kashmir. [page 11]

Persons displaced from Chhamb during the 1965 India-Pakistan War

"... during 1965 Indo- Pak War, people from Chhamb Niabat migrated to Jammu and some of them settled in some villages of Jammu District. They did not go back to their native place after the end of 1965 war and settled within the State"¦ according to the State Govt. the displaced persons of 1965 war have already been rehabilitated. Though the issues of conferment of ownership right/occupancy right of allotted State/EP land are under consideration of the State Govt., a proposal to pay cash assistance in lieu of land deficiency to some of the DPs of 1965 is under consideration of State Government"¦" [page 13]

Persons displaced from Chhamb during the 1971 India-Pakistan War (Camp)

" a result of delineation of the Line of Control along the Jammu and Kashmir border following the Shimla Agreement, the Chhamb Niabat area comprising about 39,000 acres of land in Jammu and Kashmir fell on the Pakistan side of the Line of Control. Over 18,000 persons comprising about 4,600 families who had been uprooted from this area, were immediately provided relief assistance in camps situated at Kishanpur, Manwal at a distance of about 70 kms. from Jammu." [page 140]

Persons displaced from Chhamb during the 1971 India-Pakistan War (Non-Camp)

"...The Committee was informed by the Ministry of Home Affairs that the displaced persons of Chhamb who were financially well placed and had property in Chhamb Area but were residing elsewhere in the State and did not stay in the relief camps were known as "˜Chhamb Displaced Persons (Non-Camp)"™. However, the associations representing this category continued to make representations for financial assistance/ex-gratia payment. "

"The Ministry of Home Affairs apprised the Committee that the RD Kapoor Committee had not agreed to treat the non-camp DPs of 1971 at par with the camp DPs of 1971 on the ground that the non-camp DPs were not actually residing in Chhamb Area at the time of Indo-Pak conflict of 1971, but were continuing to live elsewhere in J&K. They had some source of livelihood outside Chhamb to fall back upon, whereas the camp DPs had lost everything and had to make a fresh start in life." [page 15]

Committee"™s Observations

"The Committee expresses its serious concern that the West Pakistani Refugees, who are very much citizens of India and eligible for voting in Parliamentary elections do not possess right to vote in the State Legislative Assembly elections on the pretext that they are not permanent residents of the State in terms of the J&K Constitution. The Committee feels that though they are living there for more than 60 years, they are not leading the life of free citizens despite having voting rights for Parliament. This right has not earned them any special benefits. The Committee strongly recommends that the Central Government must impress upon the State Government to consider, as a one time measure, the demand of West Pakistani Refugees to grant them the status of permanent residents of the State sympathetically so that they can live as state subject in a dignified way, with all legal rights including right to vote in State Legislative Assembly."

"The Committee feels that once the permanent resident right is granted to West Pakistani Refugees, all subsidiary benefits would automatically follow enabling them to lead decent life. The Committee, therefore, recommends that J&K Constitution may be amended for conferring the status of State Subject on the WPRs at the earliest. These people have already suffered for more than 60 years and the issue brooks no delay. The Committee also recommends that pending final decision in the matter, a temporary waiver may be made for admission of the children in the professional institutions."

"The Committee is of the view that since the State Government has agreed, in- principle, to incorporate the provision of reservation for the wards of WPRs in jobs, the State Government should not delay in processing the matter. State Government should honour the suggestion of the Supreme Court for issuing appropriate executive order to make WPRs eligible for admission in State professional/technical colleges as it is not linked to the permanent resident status of these persons. The Committee also desires that the matter of issuance of SC and OBC Certificates to eligible WPRs should be expedited."

"The Committee also takes note of the assurance given by the Home Secretary for admission to the wards of WPRs in engineering and medical colleges in J&K. The Committee has already made a separate recommendation to address the issue of permanent resident certificate so that the children may get admission in engineering and medical colleges in J&K. Besides that, as assured by the Home Secretary, a mechanism may be explored to provide reservation to the wards of WPRs in engineering, medical and other related institutions of higher education across the country. The Committee also recommends that, if necessary, the minimum benchmark required for admission in such institutions may be relaxed for those wards because of their lower educational standard."

"The Committee strongly recommends that the Central Government should impress upon the State Government for early finalization of one time financial package for settlement of WPRs. The Committee is of the considered view that even if West Pakistani Refugees cannot be equated with the Kashmir Pandits migrants, but they deserve immediate relief and rehabilitation for sustenance without delay. One time compensation of Rs. 30 Lakhs may be provided within one year and there should not be any delay in the matter."

"The Committee is of the considered view that citizens of India must have the right to elect and get elected in all representative bodies to enhance the strength of democracy. WPRs should get permanent resident status sooner for fostering complete faith in democracy. The Committee recommends that the Ministry of Home Affairs may pursue with the State Government to examine the issue of reservation of seats in the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council of the State for WPRs, and if necessary, may move for necessary amendment to J&K Constitution. "

"The Committee takes into account the fact that non-registered families (of POK displaced persons) are not given proper relief and compensation amount. The Committee is of the view that for that purpose, their fresh enumeration is necessary. The Committee also feels that in order to understand the problems being faced by PoJK DPs and to have updated policy guidelines for them, it is appropriate that their enumeration is done at the earliest. "

"The Committee considers that the Government of India should take up the matter of defreezing of 8 seats for POJK DPs with the State Government of J&K keeping in view the problems being faced by DPs. The Ministry may impress upon the State Government to make amendments in the State Constitution, if necessary, at the earliest. "

"The Committee is of the considered view that there should not be any more delay in formulating substantive proposal for one time compensation for DPs of 1965 and 1971 (camp) & (non-camp). The Committee desires that the provisions of the proposal must be comprehensive, addressing all issues and demands of DPs of 1965 and 1971 (camp) & (noncamp), keeping in view the suffering of the displaced persons, for ensuring them decent and dignified lives."

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